Market Report: Sainsbury's leaping after horse all-clear

Horse-free meat is on the menu at Sainsbury's and its shares were gobbled up as the rest of the stock market slumped. Sainsbury's confirmed no horse meat was found in its beef products following 250 tests in line with the Food Standards Agency rules. Sainsbury's had withdrawn some burger lines last month amid the food scandal but has now confirmed it has not found any traces of horse DNA.

In a day of very few gainers on the benchmark index, Sainsbury's shares were in third place on the table of risers – its shares put on 2.7p to 337.8p.

Its chief executive Justin King last week insisted he did not think the contamination was widespread and said it is not "the tip of an iceberg" for the food industry. The "horse meat adulteration scandal" as analysts at Shore Capital describe it, could be a force for change in the food supply chain for supermarkets. Shore's analysts think there is an "improving basis to believe that brighter skies may be ahead for the reputable end of the meat-processing industry".

Sainsbury's has been winning on a few fronts compared with larger rival Tesco recently. Market researcher Kantar Worldpanel found Sainsbury's was the only one of the big four to see its market share grow in December.

Tesco's shares dipped 0.75p to 373.65p, but beat the overall market.

The benchmark index was rattled by news from the United States on Wednesday night. The FTSE 100 index had reached a five-year high on Wednesday but after the US Federal Reserve's minutes suggested that quantitative easing could be drawn to a close sooner rather than later, investors were booking profits. The Footsie lost 103.83 points to 6291.54.

Matt Basi, a senior sales trader at CMC Markets UK, said: "Equity traders have thrown a global tantrum, taking chips off the table in a clear indication that they don't want to play without the Fed adding liquidity to the pot."

Top of the tree was BAE Systems. It revealed a fall in profits but launched a £1bn share buyback, and its shares surged by 13.7p to 345.9p.

Analysts at Bank of America Merrill Lynch and JPMorgan took a look at Glasgow engineer Weir Group, which will report results next week. Both concluded the shares are worth a buy as they think fracking activity could boost sales. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing, is the controversial process of drilling and injecting fluid into the ground to fracture shale rocks to release gas.

The method might be controversial but analysts reckon the fracking industry is taking off. JPMorgan upgraded Weir to buy as "frack activity is poised to rise". It gave the shares a target of 2,500p. While Bank of America Merrill Lynch gave them a 2,300p share price target. But the shares were down, in line with the rest of the market, and lost 30p to 2,158p.

Investec's Ian Gordon was at it again with his dislike for Royal Bank of Scotland. RBS has been the worst-performing UK bank in the year to date and Mr Gordon warned: "Life really isn't getting much easier for RBS." Mr Gordon's sell stance is nothing new but he reckons the bank still has a lot of bad news to unload in its fourth-quarter update next week. He thinks it will reveal an attributable loss of £2.2bn "or £5.6bn for full-year 2012 earnings".

RBS shares were down 7.6p at 346.5p and Mr Gordon gave it a 290p target.

On the mid-tier index, Cambridge-based microchip maker CSR was top, up 47.3p to 432.7p, hitting a two-year high after revealing record sales.

Over on Aim, Fastnet Oil & Gas has acquired an option to farm in to the Petronas-owned Deep Kinsale prospect, offshore southern Ireland. One of Fastnet's main backers is Cove Energy founder and chief executive John Craven. Fastnet's shares trickled up 0.38p to 25.62p.

Life sciences company ValiRx appointed Samuel Ogunsalu as its new chief commercial officer and its shares added 0.01p to 0.58p.

Today is the deadline for private-equity group EME Capital to make an offer or walk away from jeweller to the stars Theo Fennell. The shares glistened up 0.25p to 11.25p in anticipation of news. The jeweller, a favourite of Sir Elton John and Victoria Beckham, revealed disappointing Christmas sales last month and had said its full-year results would be "materially below management expectations."

Suggested Topics
Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooks
ebooksAn introduction to the ground rules of British democracy
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Recruitment Genius: DBA Developer - SQL Server

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Administrator

£13000 - £15000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you passionate about custom...

Recruitment Genius: Dialler Administrator

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Main purpose: Under the directi...

Ashdown Group: Contracts Manager - City of London

£35000 - £37000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Contracts Manager - City...

Day In a Page

Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
The male menopause and intimations of mortality

Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

Bettany Hughes interview

The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

Art of the state

Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

Vegetarian food gets a makeover

Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

The haunting of Shirley Jackson

Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen